Desa Dairy Cattle Farm, Mesilau Highlands of Kundasang

Desa Dairy Cattle Farm, Mesilau Highlands of Kundasang

Desa Dairy Cattle Farm, Mesilau Highlands of Kundasang

07

July, 2017

If you’re planning a trip up to the Kundasang Highlands, there is a place that you shouldn’t miss visiting when you’re in Kundasang. Above the Highlands of Kundasang is the Desa Dairy Cattle Farm. 

If you’re planning a trip up to the Kundasang Highlands, there is a place that you shouldn’t miss visiting when you’re in Kundasang. Above the Highlands of Kundasang is the Desa Dairy Cattle Farm. If you ask me, I’d say it’s more than just your ordinary Cattle Farm as the place has one of the best views of Mount Kinabalu overlooking the green pastures and also the cool breeze and air to add up to the package. It’s not only about the beautiful panoramic views, you can also get the chance to experience first hand on how they milk the cows and process the milk.

Not to forget that you can also buy the freshly processed milk, a variety of cheese, and goat milk yogurts and the best part is, the delicious gelato ice cream. Head down from the main building and head straight to the feeding pen and feed the cute calves and goats. Trust me, if you are bringing your children, they’ll love it. In my opinion, the Desa Cattle Farm is one of the best places that I’ve visited so far. It is not only fun but it is also educational at the same time and for me, it is totally worth it!. So next time if you’re planning to head up to Kundasang, put the Desa Cattle Farm on your list as my words can’t fully describe on what I have experienced there, so I suggest that you should experience it for yourself.

Desa Dairy Cattle Farm

One of the amazing view of Mount Kinabalu at the Desa Cattle Farm. Nice right?

Sample some of the finest milks, yogurts and gelato ice cream in Sabah

You buy the Desa products here at the mini shop.

One of the activities there is you can feed the calf with a bottle of milk.

You can even get close to the calf. Don’t worry, they won’t bite…

To know more what you can do in Ranau, feel free to read our blog on “Don’t Miss this when you are in Ranau

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7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

06

July, 2017

Sabah is known for its reputation of being one of the worlds’ beautiful places, due to its naturally dense rainforest, tropical islands, and colorful cultural. While visiting Sabah, the eco-natural activities are not the only main reason for travelers to discover the beauty of Sabah. The historical buildings in Sabah are also one of the main factors that make it an amazing holiday destination trip.

No matter if you are a tourist or local who wants to get a dose of history from the past, it’s always good to know a thing or two about the history of the city that you are currently in. Check out the list below for my suggestion of historical buildings in Sabah that you should visit.

1. Sabah Tourism Board

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Old photo of Jesselton Post Office

Old Post Office Building, now is Sabah Tourism Board Building

One of the oldest building in Kota Kinabalu city. It is formerly known as Jesselton Post Office during the World War II (WWII), and it is fortunate enough to not be destroyed by the 1945 allied bombing in the Jesselton area back then. The Sabah Tourism Board building will be exactly 100 years old next year since its opening was officiated by governor Mr. Pearson on March 16, 1918.

2. Atkinson Clock Tower

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

The original look of Atkinson Clock Tower ( Photo by: Heritage Sabah)

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Atkinson Clock Tower now.

It is located on the bluff along the Signal Hill Road which is overlooking the capital city of Sabah. It used to be known as Atkinson Memorial Clock Tower, as it was built in the memory of Jesselton’s first district officer who died of Malaria at the age 28, Francis George Atkinson. The construction of Atkinson Clock Tower is unique because it is an all-wood and no-nails structure built by people of the past. The clock tower was used as a shipping navigation landmark in the 1900s, but now it serves as helping locals to be conscious of the local time in Sabah in order to assist them in their daily chores.

3. Deparment of Social Welfare

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Old Social Welfare building(Image source : TH YEE)

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Department of Social Welfare became an unofficial street art gallery.

It was constructed between 1918 – late 1920s, and it is one of the British Colonial building that survived in the 1945 allied bombing. It used to be Lands and Survey Department Building but was later changed to Department of Social Welfare. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by fire on December 31, 1992, and there is no development since then. In 2010, it became an un-official Street Art Graffiti Gallery, where the local artist used it as a canvas to express their art creativity, as well as preserving the historical site.

Do you want to explore the heritage buildings in Kota Kinabalu city?

I want to explore Kota Kinabalu City!

4. Jesselton Hotel

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Picture of Jesselton Hotel on 28th November 1961.

(Photo source: Jabatan Penerangan Sabah)

Department of Social Welfare became an unofficial street art gallery.

Jesselton Hotel is the oldest and first modern hotel built after the World War II (WWII). Following the devastation of Jesselton town ( known as Kota Kinabalu now) at the end of WWII, Sir Herbert Ralph Hone, as the Colonial Governor of Jesselton, encouraged the British Hong Kong Chinese businessmen to invest and rebuild the Jesselton town area. Thus, the hotel was built in 1954 at Gaya Street and it attracts locals and tourists’ attention because of the structure building that gives a little touch of colonial and its doorman wearing a colonial uniform.

5. St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, Sandakan

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Old photo of St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, Sandakan

St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, Sandakan today.

The oldest stone church building in Sabah, and also a part of Sandakan Heritage Trails which connects few historical sights and monuments in Sandakan. The building was first constructed using ironwood timber, then followed by bricks, and finally stone. The church took more than 30 years to complete, started in 1893 and completed in 1906. The church manage to avoided major damage during WWII in the 1940s, and served as a resting place for Prisoners of War(POWs) who trekked the Sandakan Death March.

6. Agnes Keith House, Sandakan 

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Agnes Keith House, Sandakan

Agnes Keith is an American author, who wrote her life experience in North Borneo (now – Sabah). Her house was once a British Colonial Government Quarters, called Newlands, and now it is one of the famous landmarks in Sandakan. Agnes Keith and her family lived in the house until 1942 and came back to Borneo again after the WWII. However, they realised the house was burnt down due to the war and they rebuilt the house from scratch with the same design as the old one. Agnes Keith and her family continued to live there until they left Sabah in 1952. Today, the house was restored back after 50 years by Sabah Museum and opened for public in 2004. The house now turned into a museum portraying the life Agnes Keith and her family through documents, pictures, and portraits. Moreover, the house was furnished with colonial furniture and genuine antiques, which makes you feel like a step back in time to British colonial era.

7. Bellfry or Bell Tower, Tawau 

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Bellfry Tower in 1949. Photo source by e-tawau.

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Bellfry Tower today. Photo source by e-tawau.

The Belfry was constructed in 1921 by the prison labour, and it is the only historical building in Tawau to survive the WWII. It was built to commemorate the signing of Armistice following the World War I in 1918, when Japan was an ally of Great Britain. The bell tower was used to indicate the time back then, and the hours rung at intervals by the police guard. However, there is no bell in the bell tower now and it became a mystery in Tawau history.

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KAAMATAN LEGEND TO REALITY

KAAMATAN LEGEND TO REALITY

KAAMATAN LEGEND TO REALITY

29

May, 2017

Kotobian Tadau Tagazo do Kaamatan!

It’s that time of year again! Where everyone, near and far, young and old, gather together to celebrate Kaamatan or in English, Harvest Festival. It’s a celebration held annually in Sabah that has been on going for a long time. One of the most anticipated event of the year in Sabah, Kaamatan is more than just having fun together with your loved ones or catching up with long lost friends, it is to signify the beginning of harvest for all farmers in Sabah. That’s the gist of it. 

Kaamatan legend to reality

There is actually a legend behind the reason why the Kadazan Dusun community celebrates Harvest Festival like there’s no tomorrow. Long time ago, Kinoingan and his people were caught in famine. Not only crops were dying, but women and children were dying due to starvation. Huminodun, daughter of Kinoingan was sad and disheartening to see the villagers and her father wrecking his head trying to find a solution.

Huminodun was the most beautiful women anyone has ever laid eyes on. Not only was she breathtaking, she was wise beyond her age that many people from near and far adored her. Men would stop whatever they were doing whenever she passed by them and fall in love with her instantaneously.

Kinoingan knew his last hope to save his people was to sacrifice a maiden of pure heart and mind to Mother Nature for harvest and food to his people. Huminodun, with no fear, offered herself to save her father’s people from famine. Kinoingan was against the idea of course, but Huminodun never changed her grounds and persuaded her father. After awhile, with a heavy heart, Kinoingan agreed. Clearing the land with his supernatural powers, he cleared the land so big you couldn’t see the end of it. The time came for Huminodun’s body to be a sacrifice to Mother Nature.

Walking slowly to the cleared land with her head held high, Huminodun walked before everyone with Kinoingan walking several feet behind. Suminundu, Huminodun’s mother, was weeping beside herself together with the villagers and their children, sadden to see such beauty and kind-heartedness do such a huge sacrifice in order for them to live on and have a future.

Kaamatan legend to reality

Digital artwork called Huminodun by Sabah-born artist Yee I-Lann. 

Huminodun arrived in the middle of the cleared land and turned around to face her father, Kinoingan, and said, “My body will give life to many plants for the people; my flesh turn to rice; my head, coconut trees; my bones, to be tapioca; my knees, yam; my teeth, corn; and my toes, ginger. Follow these steps and our people will never come to the point of starvation anymore”, said Huminodun to her father.

Huminodun warned her father to follow several rules to a tee. The rules are, when her body parts have been scattered all over the cleared land, nobody is to come and see her for seven days and seven nights. Once the paddy (rice) has ripened, seven stalks of paddy are to be taken and tied to one end of a spliced bamboo and planted at the center of the paddy field before harvesting any of the paddies. After doing this, only can they start harvesting. After the harvest is done, the bamboo stick with the seven paddy stalks is to be placed in a tangkob (paddy storage container). All work put in during the first day of harvest is to be kept in the Kakanan (big jar). All first-year harvest are not to be given away to anyone, and let any remaining paddy grains turn bad (which is why, to this day, Kadazan Dusun community has never given away their first year’s harvest). However, you can do anything you want to the second year harvest. 

Kinoingan agreed to Huminodun’s instructions. With a heavy heart, he proceeded to sacrifice his only daughter. As he sacrificed her, the sky turned black, there was lightning all around and thunder clapping from near and far, the earth below him shook and rumbled. The rain came pouring down like never before, soaking the earth with its moisture and washing away all the past torments Mother Nature has given them. Life was reborn. As told by Huminodun, plants of many sorts began to grow where her blood and flesh touched the soil.

That year, Kinoingan and his people saw a great harvest that never in their life had they ever seen before. In respect of Huminodun’s wishes, Kinoingan did exactly as what Huminodun requested. The seven paddy stalks were to honor the seven Bambaazon, the paddy spirit. As for the paddy in the Kakanan (big jar), a beautiful maiden rose out from the jar on the seventh day. She was the beautiful Huminodun, resurrected as a spirit to help and care for her people. She was called Unduk Ngadau. It was her spirit that first taught and guided the Bobohizan (high priestesses) in their chants and rituals, and that is how the spiritual traditions of our people begun. 

This is the reason why Kaamatan Festival plays such a vital role in each Sabahan native’s hearts. The main part of Kaamatan Festival is to honor the legendary Huminodun, who gave up her life in order for her people to survive. Hence why Unduk Ngadau Beauty Pageant plays a grand part during Harvest Festival. It is to commemorate Huminodun’s everlasting youth, selflessness, beauty, and love for her father’s people. It is a sacred title and great honor to be dubbed as the next Unduk Ngadau winner as she will represent the whole essence of Huminodun. Her gift to us all remains in our hearts to remind us the importance of sincerity, bravery, caring, selflessness, and love.

Kaamatan legend to reality
Kaamatan legend to reality

Interested to know more on Kaamatan or Harvest Festival? Come and join us to celebrate this yearly event of Sabah together in Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Sabah on 30th – 31st May. For more inquiry, feel free to contact us here.

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Weston River Cruise Tour

Weston River Cruise Tour

Weston River Cruise Tour

19

May, 2017

Two months ago, I had the opportunity to join the Weston River Cruise tour in Weston, Beaufort. Being a newbie in the company, I was very excited as I had never been on a river cruise before. I know I am not the adventurous type of girl, but if you get the chance to join a river cruise and it’s a place that I have never been to in Sabah, then I’m game for it!

To begin with my story, let me share some information about Weston town. Weston town is located in Beaufort, Sabah. It was named after Mr. A.J. West, who is a British North Borneo railway engineer and the town was built as the terminal point for the first railway of North Borneo. It’s roughly a two-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu city. In Weston town, there is one row of shops, back then, British made a jetty point and a Chinese primary school built in wood, which remarkably, is rich in 100-years of history.

Weston is treasured with wildlife and nature. It is home to Borneo Proboscis Monkey, Silver Leaf Monkeys, Long-Tail Macaque, Birds, Snakes, and many more. Moreover, Weston also has a variety of aquamarines living there, such as the Mudskipper Fish, Otters, Crocodiles and River Shrimps. Apart from spotting the wildlife there in Weston, you can also participate in watching the stunning view of the “Reddish Fire Sunset”.

Weston River Cruise

Our trip started about 1.30pm from Kota Kinabalu City, but we (one of my colleague, is the driver, and I) had to go and fetch our guests at Borneo Beach Villas, Karambunai. Our guest is a family group, a father, with four of his lovely children. Thus, we depart from the villas and enjoyed our trip to reach Weston town. However, on the way to Weston town, it was raining heavily and it’s hard for us to see the road! I can see the children were getting restless due to the long journey to reach Weston town. Luckily, my colleague played a movie “King Kong” through his mobile phone and I did some ice-breaker with the children.

Exactly at 5 pm, we reached Weston town, yet, it was still raining (sigh!), but that did not stop us all to continue the tour. Upon arrival at Weston Water Village, we went for an afternoon tea at one of the local cafes there. I was told by my colleague back in the office that the food served here are so delicious. Gosh, I could not agree more! The food really was so delicious especially their homemade pastry – the glutinous rice shrimp (Yummy!). Even our guests loved eating the fried noodles and had second helpings.

Weston Water Village
Weston River Cruise

After our high tea, the rain finally stopped (Yippee!). We put on our life jackets and hopped on a small river cruise boat to start river cruising along the Weston River, and I cannot explain the happy feeling inside of me to go for river cruising for the first time ever! The after-rain weather really does bring out a euphoric feeling somewhere in me, as we cruised along the river hoping to spot for wildlife. We spotted a few Proboscis Monkeys hanging on a tree and our riverboat driver brings us closer to the river bank to see the Proboscis Monkeys. Our guests were so excited, especially the kids when they saw the Proboscis Monkeys upfront.

While everybody including myself was busy taking pictures of the primates, out of a sudden there was one Proboscis Monkey which jumped unto the other tree but failed and ended up going into the water (Haha!). However, it was quick to climb up to the other tree. One of the amazing fact that you need to know about this creature is their fingers and toes are partially webbed making them good divers and swimmers for them to swim across the river to move to new areas. You cannot imagine the feeling we felt that time when we see the live action from the Proboscis Monkey, it was quite a show for those who were first-timers to see it, especially to our guests and myself.

After that, we continued our river cruising to spot more of the wildlife. As it was raining before, there were not much of wildlife coming out that time. We did spot a few Long Tailed Macaques, and they were soaking wet and cute too! However, we were warned by my colleague, being our professional guide for the day, to not believe the cuteness of the primates, because they are the most sneaky and aggressive animals, will steal anything from anyone. One of the most significant experiences on this river cruise tour was, we managed to see Silver Leaf Monkeys, which happen to be the hardest wildlife to spot in Weston due to its characteristic for being overly shy.

Weston River Cruise Tour
Weston River Cruise Tour
Weston River Cruise Tour

Afterward, we went back to the cafe at the Weston Water Village. Along the way, we can see the wooden stilt village nearby, which was funded by government and the locals there were mostly fishermen. Joining this Weston River Cruise Tour was not only for wildlife sightings, but to also indulge ourselves with the magnificent sight of the sunset. Upon reaching the local cafe, a run of the mill dinner buffet was served, but the food was so tasty and delicious. Lucky for us, we are the only customers that day and the food served was all for us to eat. Oh yes! After dinner, we spotted some bats as well in the cafe and took some pictures before continuing our tour activity.

Weston River Cruise Tour
Weston River Cruise Tour

Later that evening, we hopped on the same boat again, this time, in pitch darkness. The tour does not end without going to see the fireflies. My colleagues had this green light torchlight which attracted tons of fireflies to our boats, and our guest, especially the children, were so excited to see the fireflies and even wanted to catch it! It was a sight to watch the colony of fireflies lighting up the mangroves trees. It really did feel like Christmas in March (in a tropical climate). Such an incredible experience to get the chance of a lifetime to see such an unbelievable sight, for a city girl like me. Not only that, looking at the light from the fireflies, really reminded me one of the scenes from the movie “Avatar”.

Finally, our Weston River Cruise ended. We bid goodbye and thank the owner of the local cafe for their good service and delicious food. We depart from Weston and continued for a two-hour drive back to Kota Kinabalu city.

Planning to bring your family to Weston River Cruise? You can check our tour here. Moreover, you can read our blog on 5 quick tips about Family Travel in Borneo before planning to visit Borneo.

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Sabah Colloquial – “Bah”

Sabah Colloquial – “Bah”

Sabah Colloquial – “BAH”

13

May, 2017

Every place you visit, you are sure to hear or capture local people conversing in their national language or mother tongue. Our national language is Bahasa Melayu, but travel to all states, and you will realize that each state has its own usage of colloquial phrases.

It’s good to know one or two words to help you build a stronger bond with the locals while you’re here, and make you feel right at home. So let’s get started!

Most common one you can catch up on with is the use “Bah”. It’s one of the most common colloquial words used in Sabah which has tons of meaning and can be used in both Bahasa Melayu or English! Depending on the situation in hand and context, the meaning of the word varies.

EXAMPLE

 

As a final say that could be either yes, or no

e.g. Want to grab a coffee?

       Bah, let’s go!  or  Bah, you go la. I don’t want coffee.

To show anger or disapproval

e.g. Bah, if you want to go, you go lah bah. Why you want to wait for me? 

or 

Bah, since yu don’t want to listen, don’t ask for my opinion!

To stress on or emphasize said statement, situation and/or object

e.g. I don’t want to go baaah… How many times do I need to tell you. 

or 

Can we sit outside? It’s so cold bah inside… Can la bah, please.

As a conjunction

e.g. Bah, how you want to go about this situation now? 

or Bah, what time is your flight from Kota Kinabalu International Airport?

On its own (which means ‘okay’)

e.g. Let’s watch a movie tonight!

       “Bah.”

It might seem easy to use the word, but newbies tend to overuse it. But not to worry! We all learn through mistakes, so have fun with it while you visit Sabah! Planning to travel to Sabah? Check out our offer to you on Sabah Tour.

To know more how to speak “Bah” when you are in Sabah, check this video below by Adam Tambakau on “How to use Bah?” :

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WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL WITH YOUR FAMILY?

WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL WITH YOUR FAMILY?

WHY SHOULD YOU TRAVEL WITH YOUR FAMILY?

12

May, 2017

Traveling can be life changing…

Where you get to kick back, relax, and rediscover your true self. Yet, we tend to put off traveling plans due to bearing the responsibility as a parent, work obligations, finances, and/or some other reason. However, you shouldn’t allow all these reasons to hinder you from traveling, especially if you have kids.

I love traveling with my family. Every year we will always have plans to go somewhere together for the holidays, be it an overnight in Kundasang, Ranau, or a week in Sandakan. It is always fun when you are traveling with your family.

Here’s why you should go traveling with your family:

1) Best Family Bonding Experience

Going for a movie night or having dinner together, could be a good family bonding time. However, traveling with family is definitely the best time to bond, as it reinforces the fact that quality time spent together is essential. Traveling with family could help cut out from all the distraction of school, work, digital world, and more. You will have the chance to sit down and have a conversation with your children or vice-versa without being interrupted in new and exciting places.

2) Create Fond Memories Together

Years from now, when you look at the album or your vacation videos, you will eventually relive the wonderful memories of your vacation with your family. Memories with family are to be cherished and remembered for as long as you live. Moreover, the best and unforgettable memories are made when they occur unexpectedly.

Who could forget the time when my brother was showing his stunt splash jumping into the swimming pool but it went wrong, as he accidentally slipped due to the slippery deck. Ouch! Or even during our family trip to Manila a few years back, we won’t forget the crumbling feeling we felt in the pit of our stomachs when we realized that we’d gotten lost somewhere in the city as we made our way back to the hotel.

3) Break Away from Stress and Relax

Traveling with a family will definitely put aside the daily routines in our lives, and allow us to enjoy and relax on the trip together. Most families will spend their days with work deadlines, school activities, extracurricular activities, household duties and errands, which resulted in stress to our daily lives. Having stress in our lives can be good, but too much stress without any relaxation could lead to harmful health. Thus, a break from the busy and repetitive daily routines, even if it is only a weekend getaway, could help to relieve the stress.

4) A Chance to Learn and Experince New Things

There is no doubt that you and your family will learn and experience different things while taking your family to travel out of state, or just around the corner. For example, if you and your family are traveling in Sabah Borneo, drop by to Mari-Mari Cultural Village where your family can experience Borneo culture, people, and languages first-hand, in order to change their perception of the world around them. Not forgetting, kids being the observant ones, will cherish and appreciate more the new things that they have experienced, in which they will share their experiences with friends or peers alike.

Two months ago, I have joined a private family tour to Weston River Cruise for work purposes. I can see that the children were so excited to see the Proboscis Monkeys and Fireflies in real life. Thus, this new experience could lead the children to easily express themselves more knowing that they have experienced something different. (Stay tuned for my next blog post, I’ll be talking about my experience joining in the private family tour to Weston River Cruise)

5) Becomes a Model Problem Solver for Your Kids

No traveling experience is perfect, even traveling with family too! Unfortunate events can sometimes occur that you and your family didn’t plan for. Either the flights got delayed, your kids get sick, a flat tire before reaching to a destination, traffic jams, or weather change, can disrupt your meticulously thought-out plan. These situations are unavoidable, and parents will be put in the position to deal with this kind of situation on the spot. This is a good opportunity for the parents to be a real-life model problem solver for the kids, which will let them adapt the situation easily through understanding self-reliance and encourage them to be independent.

Having read those 5 reasons why you should travel with family; – does it trigger you to plan your next travel adventure? And this time, with your family? Do consider bringing your little ones too for a staycation, weekend getaway, a short out-of-town trip and/or adventure travel. Traveling with family creates unforgettable memories, so do cherish it while you can. You can read our blog on our 5 quick tips about family travel in Borneo

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